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Wait Time: Teaching Tip


Did you know you should wait at least 10 seconds after asking question before reframing it or moving on? Count it out - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Many teachers don't wait nearly that long.


However, if we think about the processes taking place when we ask a language learner a question, we might be surprised.

  • Individuals must initially understand the question, which often involves translating it into their first language.

  • Then, they formulate a response, which is also usually in their first language.

  • They translate that response into English.

  • After all of that, they still need to build up the courage to speak in front of the class.

When you think about all of that taking place, 10 seconds doesn't seem very long anymore, huh?


Next time you are teaching, actually count out 10 seconds of wait time. Don't be afraid of silence in the classroom, and give your students the chance to answer the questions you are asking.


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